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Archive for May, 2009

UT to anchor Great Lakes education May 18-22

Northwest Ohio will be the center of information and education about the Great Lakes this week, May 18-22, as The University of Toledo hosts the 52nd Annual Conference on Great Lakes Research.

logo09soIn addition to providing the latest in research to the world’s leading scientists, educators and researchers, the conference offers several opportunities for the public to interact with the people whose work shapes the future of the Great Lakes.

“Some of the questions we get every year from the public are ‘Is the water safe to swim in? Can I eat the fish I catch? What’s next for Lake Erie as far as tourism goes?’” said Dr. Carol Stepien, director of UT’s Lake Erie Center and chair of the conference’s organizing committee. UT offers this annual conference in partnership with the International Association for Great Lakes Research.

“With this year’s theme of ‘Bridging Ecosystems and Environmental Health Across Our Great Lakes,’ we can answer these questions,” Stepien added. “We’re thrilled to have two keynote speakers whose research has been crucial in promoting a greater understanding of how science, environmental issues and public health are connected.”

In addition to more than 500 presentations throughout the week, the conference will feature a Great Lakes Public Forum offered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Monday, May 18, from 3 to 5:30 p.m. in the Student Union Ingman Room on Main Campus. The free forum, “Setting the Course for the Next 25 Years,” allows public participants to discuss the issues, opportunities and challenges posed to the Great Lakes region.

The conference’s keynote speakers are world-renowned scientists whose work connects Great Lakes research to public health concerns.

Dr. Howard Frumkin, director of the National Center for Environmental Health Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, will address “Health and the Environment: The Great Lakes Region” at 9 a.m. Tuesday, May 19, in Doermann Theater on Main Campus.

On Thursday, May 21, Dr. Rita Colwell will speak on “Climate, Oceans, Infectious Diseases and Human Health: The Cholera Paradigm” at 11 a.m. in Doermann Theater.

Colwell is a distinguished professor at the University of Maryland College Park and Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health, senior adviser and chairman emeritus of Canon U.S. Life Sciences, and president/chief executive officer of CosmosID Inc.

Both keynote presentations are free and open to the public.

The International Association for Great Lakes Research is a scientific organization comprised of researchers studying the Laurentian Great Lakes, other large lakes and their watersheds. More than 1,000 members worldwide contribute to the association’s goals of promoting and communicating research pertaining to large lakes.

Law dean recognized for continuing education of bar

UT Law Dean Doug Ray, left, received a plaque from Mark Smith of the Center for American and International Law.

UT Law Dean Douglas Ray, left, received a plaque for his commitment to continuing legal education from Mark Smith of the Center for American and International Law.

UT College of Law Dean Douglas Ray received a special award from the Center for American and International Law last month for his “extraordinary commitment to the continuing education of the bar.”

The Center for American and International Law is an international nonprofit educational institution dedicated to improving the quality of justice through continuing education to lawyers. Headquartered in Texas, the center has provided continuing education to thousands of lawyers from all 50 states and 130 countries.

The dean has served as chair and been a featured lecturer for the center’s Program on Labor Law and Labor Arbitration for the past 10 years. The program is attended by lawyers from across the nation and taught by many of the country’s leading experts in labor law.

Ray is the co-author of Understanding Labor Law, the text used in the program. Early in his career, Ray was in private practice in labor law, and he has served as a labor arbitrator.

Mark Smith, vice president for the center, said, “Doug is a good friend of the center and an important contributor to the continuing education of the bar. We appreciate the opportunity to bask in the glow of his good work and were pleased to recognize his contributions to the center and the bar with a commemorative plaque.”

Social work students win state regional awards

Two University of Toledo students have won awards from the regional chapter of the National Organization of Social Workers (NASW).

The NASW is a professional organization for social workers with state and regional chapters. The University of Toledo is in Region I, which is comprised of 17 counties.

There are two social work student of the year awards given annually, one for bachelor’s in social work students and one for master’s in social work students.

The award winners are selected from nominations received by Region 1 and are based on both academic performance and social justice leadership in bachelor’s or master’s programs. All Ohio region winners are then reviewed for selection of the state winners.

Nick Menke won the NASW Ohio Chapter Region 1 award for a student pursuing a bachelor’s degree. He is an assessments casework intern at Lucas County Children Services.

According to his nominators, Menke is an excellent student and provides high ethical standards in accordance with the NASW Code of Ethics.

He took on a key role for the fair trade handcraft sale, for which he and the Student Social Work Organization partnered with Dandora Women’s Forum and sold their handcrafts in various venues throughout the holidays while providing education about economic justice and fair trade. In addition, he was engaged in local service projects such as food drives, toy drives and volunteer work with area children.

Lisa Fedina won the NASW Ohio Chapter Region 1 award for a student pursuing a master’s degree.

She is interning with Second Chance and is dedicated to promoting social and economic justice.

Fedina is dedicated to helping the poor, the vulnerable and the oppressed, according to her nominators.

She also is passionate about advocating for victims of sex trafficking and prostitution. Fedina is the lead author of “Human Trafficking: A Resource Guide for Service Providers in Ohio.”

Menke and Fedina will be honored at the NASW state conference this fall.

‘Art’ of oncology on display at Mulford Library

Beth Covert, who painted this mural, will talk about her fight against breast cancer Thursday, May 14.

Beth Covert, who painted this mural, will talk about her fight against breast cancer Thursday, May 14.

The Cancer Center at The University of Toledo Medical Center has reserved pieces from the art exhibit titled “Oncology on Canvas.” The exhibit can be seen through Sunday, May 17, on the fourth floor of the Mulford Library on Health Science Campus.

The art for this international exhibit is submitted by people who have been diagnosed with cancer, their oncologists, nurses, family members and caregivers, allowing them to share their cancer experiences with the world through their works.

On Thursday, May 14, from 6:30 to 8 p.m., Beth Covert, local muralist, will give a narrated presentation about her personal fight against breast cancer. To see her work, visit www.bethcovert.com.

Dr. Kelly Manahan and Dr. John Geisler, gynecological oncologists at UTMC, will provide a welcome and opening remarks prior to Covert’s talk, which will be held in the Mulford Library Café.

“Oncology on Canvas” can be seen from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, and from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

For more information on this free, public exhibit and event, contact the UT Cancer Center at 419.383.6644.

Toledo softball coach released

UT Athletic Director Mike O’Brien announced today that Jo Ann Gordon has been released from her position as head softball coach.

Gordon had been the head coach at UT for the past seven seasons, compiling a 105-235 record, and a 35-115 mark in Mid-American Conference play. The Rockets were 8-38, 6-16 in MAC play this past season.

O’Brien said a national search for Gordon’s replacement will begin immediately. He indicated that Assistant Coach Sunny Jones will run the day-to-day operations of the team until a new head coach is named.

“I want to thank Jo Ann Gordon for her years of dedicated service to The University of Toledo,” O’Brien said. “However, I felt it was time for the softball program to move in a new direction.”

Gordon came to Toledo after serving as the head softball and volleyball coach at Thiel College, an NCAA Division III school in Greenville, Pa. In her three seasons at Thiel, Gordon guided the Tomcats’ softball team to a 47-53 overall mark and a 14-10 win-loss ledger in the President’s Athletic Conference.

A native of Kirtland, Ohio, Gordon also served as an assistant coach at Kent State, her alma mater, for nine seasons (1991-99). She helped the Golden Flashes compile a 247-204-1 (.548) mark and was a part of KSU’s 1999 MAC East Division championship squad in her final season.

Gordon was a four-time letter winner at first base and shortstop for the Golden Flashes while earning her bachelor’s degree in physical education. As team co-captain in 1990, she helped lead KSU to a Mid-American Conference title and a berth in the Women’s College World Series. She also co-captained the squad in 1989.

Leaves/voluntary reduction in hours available to some

Academic employees on Health Science Campus and all Main Campus employees once again may take advantage of summer programs allowing voluntary unpaid leaves of absence and reduction in work hours starting Monday, May 18.

The programs are available to staff whose departments typically experience lower workloads from May 18 to Aug. 21. The options allow employees to rejuvenate and spend extra time with their families while helping reduce UT’s labor costs.

Employees are eligible for these voluntary unpaid leaves of absence and reduction in work hours only with the approval of their department managers, based on business needs.

Request forms and details regarding changes in benefits, sick and vacation time accruals, and retirement contributions, among others, are explained in the Summer Leave/Voluntary Reduction in Work Hours Program Outline, which is available on the Human Resources Web site at www.utoledo.edu/depts/hr/forms/employment.html.  Note that there are separate request forms for each campus due to different authorization procedures.

Questions may be directed to Human Resources at 419.530.4747.

UT College of Pharmacy partners with American Heart Association to identify medication errors

The University of Toledo College of Pharmacy, in conjunction with the Start! Toledo Heart Walk and the American Heart Association, is helping to improve the human condition by organizing medication reviews through area pharmacies.

Medication reviews allow pharmacists to identify problems that might result from being cared for by multiple physicians or using multiple pharmacies.

The Start! Heart Walk will take place Saturday, May 16, beginning and ending at the Glass Bowl on UT’s Main Campus. Free medication review vouchers, valued at $100 each, will be available at the heart walk and at participating pharmacies. The participating pharmacies have committed more than 1,000 total hours, at a value of more than $100,000, for the medication reviews.

Dr. Johnnie Early, dean of the College of Pharmacy and chair of the 2009 Start! Walk, has enlisted the participation of local pharmacies, including some Kroger, Rite Aid, Target and Walgreens pharmacies; community pharmacies Kahler Pharmacy, the Pharmacy Counter and Ryan Pharmacy; the UT Employee Health Center; the Cordelia Martin Health Center Pharmacy; and the Mercy Health Partners pharmacies at St. Ann, St. Charles and St. Vincent.

The medication review project initiated by the college is the first of its kind to be associated with the Start! Heart Walk and the American Heart Association.

The UT College of Pharmacy has a national reputation for consistently training well-prepared and knowledgeable pharmacists who successfully transition into pharmacy practice. Through the efforts of prestigious faculty, the college enjoys more than a 90 percent on-time graduation rate and a 100 percent placement rate for its graduates. The college offers bachelor’s degrees in pharmaceutical sciences with majors in medicinal chemistry, pharmacology/toxicology, pharmacy and health-care management and pharmaceutics; master’s degrees in several areas; the PhD in medicinal chemistry and the PharmD; and residency and fellowship training.

Law student ‘goes green’ with eco-friendly clothing line

In addition to stressing over finals like most law students, 24-year-old Kyle Smitley, founder and owner of eco-friendly children’s clothing line, barley & birch, is concerned about when her next shipment of clothing will be in.

Kyle Smitley shows off one of the shirts made by her company, barley & birch.

Kyle Smitley shows off a shirt made by her eco-friendly company, barley & birch.

She was an environmental geoscience and philosophy major at DePauw University and is now a full-time UT law student.

Smitley has been operating the business since 2007. All of the clothing is made in the United States using 100 percent certified organic cotton and water-based inks.

“Organic clothing is important because conventional cotton today uses 25 percent of the world’s insecticides, seven of the 10 top ingredients having been noted by the Environmental Protection Agency as having carcinogenic properties,” she said.

According to Smitley, using organic cotton results in healthier soil, food and water. “Basically, using organic cotton is just one piece of the eco-friendly puzzle,” she said.

Every facet of barley & birch is carbon neutral. The company does this by offsetting all emissions created by production and shipping and working with manufacturers that are largely powered by solar energy.

“For instance, we might plant a certain number of trees in order to offset emissions produced by delivery trucks or the printer,” Smitley said.

She said the brand is really starting to take off with recent celebrity support. Stars including Jessica Alba and Sheryl Crow have dressed their children in barley & birch.

Socially, barley & birch donates 30 percent of its profits to organizations working to improve the environment and global community.

Smitley said the key to balancing both student and business responsibilities is extreme time management. “I do a lot of multi-tasking,” she said. “If I get a break from class, I am e-mailing on my iPhone while making a call on my regular cell phone. I try not to work during classes, but sometimes it’s impossible.”

She said the company is named after two symbolic things in her childhood. “‘Barley’ represents the barley fields around where I went to school, and ‘birch’ represents the birch trees that surround my family’s lake house and in the front yard of my childhood home.”

Her company recently was added to the National Green Pages, which is the United State’s premier listing of environmentally and socially responsible businesses.

Smitley said the National Green Pages has been a helpful tool because she is able to network with other eco-friendly companies and get outside advice on certain aspects of her green business. “It’s like having 1,000 mentors,” she said.

According to Smitley, there are so many easy ways to make a difference in the Toledo area; these include buying local products and bringing your own bags to the grocery store.

“UT students should get out and experience the community by volunteering an hour a month at the animal shelter, soup kitchen or wherever,” she said.

Her goal is to build the business in order to make a difference in the world and dedicate legal services to nonprofit organizations.

To see Smitley’s clothing line, go to www.barleyandbirch.com.

Lifelong dream of college diploma to come true for 84-year-old

It’s never too late to start or finish your degree. And the journey for Elizabeth J. Smith will end when she graduates from The University of Toledo’s University College Degree Programs Sunday, May 10, at the age of 84.

Smith graduated from Florence High School in Wisconsin in 1942 as the class valedictorian and was offered scholarships to three schools.

“There wasn’t enough money to go to school and women didn’t usually go to college,” she said.

Unable to pursue her college dream at that time, she moved to Chicago and worked as a bookkeeper. She married Hoyt Ensign and moved to Toledo, where they raised their two daughters. After their children graduated college, her family encouraged her to return to her studies.

Smith will graduate cum laude with a bachelor of arts degree in adult liberal studies with a 3.5 GPA.  Her senior thesis focuses on strategies on aging, health and gerontology, and touches on her own personal experiences. She said she enjoyed the face-to-face interaction with students of all ages and participating in study groups.

“Elizabeth personifies the idea that it is never too late to start or finish an undergraduate degree,” said Director of University College Degree Programs Kim Pollauf. “She is an inspiration to anyone who ever doubted the ability to achieve success at a later point in life.”

Going the distance: University College to graduate 17 online learners

The University of Toledo’s University College Degree Programs will graduate its largest entirely online class Sunday, May 10. Seventeen students from as far away as Florida will graduate with either an adult liberal studies or interdisciplinary individualized degree.

According to Dean Dennis Lettman, University College has long held the tradition of serving adult students through flexible and adaptable degree programs and course scheduling.

“I am so proud that the new technology now available to deliver courses at a distance has enabled students from around the country and the globe to achieve their dream of a quality college education,” he said. “Congratulations to all our graduates!”

Among this distance-learning class, University College will recognize three award winners:

Janelle Stone-Sofranko from Columbus will be recognized as an Outstanding Scholar for 2009. She is graduating cum laude with a bachelor of arts degree in adult liberal studies with a focus in women’s studies. She believes strongly in the empowerment of women and has dedicated her studies to working with survivors of domestic violence. She feels is it is her personal responsibility to do her part to end social injustices, particularly toward women and children.

Shannon Sweeney from Tampa, Fla., also will be recognized as an Outstanding Scholar for 2009. She is graduating with a bachelor of arts degree in interdisciplinary studies with an individualized program. She is a member of the UT chapter of the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi and a member of the U.S Air Force. Sweeney is stationed at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, where she met her husband, an Ohio native. She plans to continue her education in the master of liberal studies program online this fall to keep her busy while her husband serves a tour in Iraq.

Jennifer Beaver from Toledo will receive the 2009 Distinguished Achievement Award. She is graduating with a bachelor of arts degree in adult liberal studies. Jennifer began college directly out of high school; however, life got in the way of her education. She returned to college after eight years, resolved to finish her education at The University of Toledo, where she enrolled as a full-time student while working full time and raising a family. In 2006, her husband became ill, and she cared for him while he underwent treatments, all while raising their son, being pregnant with their daughter and studying full time to maintain her GPA. Beaver is a first-generation graduate and will begin working on her juris doctor at the UT College of Law this fall.

University College, one of 11 colleges at The University of Toledo, specializes in degree completion options and bachelor degrees for individuals with unique areas of interest.